Former Sri Lankan President “Should Face Charges Over 2019 Bombings” | Sri Lanka News

The investigation indicates that Sirisena, intelligence chiefs should be prosecuted for failing to prevent the suicide attacks on Easter Sunday 2019.

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and his intelligence chiefs should be prosecuted for failing to prevent the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed 279 people, according to an investigation.

Sirisena, who left office last year, was deemed negligent by the investigation he opened five months after the attacks on three hotels and three churches on April 21, 2019.

It quickly emerged that the Indian intelligence services, following a denunciation, had warned Sri Lanka 17 days earlier of the risk of attacks.

According to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry report, the “balance of probabilities” was that Sirisena had been informed by her intelligence chief of the warnings before the attacks.

The commission, which heard 440 witnesses and delivered its report to parliament on Tuesday, said the attorney general should “consider bringing criminal charges against [former] President Sirisena under any appropriate provision of the Penal Code ”.

Sirisena, now a ruling party lawmaker, previously denied knowing about the warnings and did not comment on the report.

The investigation also revealed that Sirisena’s head of intelligence, Nilantha Jayawardena, was criminally responsible for failing to heed Indian intelligence warnings.

Jayawardena had “diluted the weight of intelligence” from India, according to the report.

An interior view of the Sanctuary of St. Anthony after the Kochchikade explosion in Colombo [File: Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

He added that Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara should also be prosecuted for negligence.

Jayasundara and the then top Defense Ministry official, Hemasiri Fernando, are already accused of failing to prevent the attacks.

The report revealed that the coordinated bombings were funded by the family of a local spice merchant whose two sons were among suicide bombers.

Two days after the attack, the ISIS group claimed responsibility, but investigators say they have not found a direct link between the group and the local attackers.

The attacks were carried out by Zahran Hashim, known to the anti-terrorist police and Sri Lankan intelligence services.

He had launched social media calls for the murder of non-Muslims and persuaded six young men to sacrifice themselves in the predominantly Buddhist nation.

The spice merchant’s son, Ilham Ibrahim, died at the Shangri-La Hotel while his brother Inshaf Ibrahim bombed the Cinnamon Grand.

The leader Hashim also died at the Shangri-La.

Two churches in Colombo and another in the eastern region of Batticaloa were also targeted by suicide bombers.

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